Monday, August 22, 2016

Celebrate America's National Parks! Aug 25, 2016 = National Parks Centennial; Oct 14, 2016 = Wadada Leo Smith's America's National Parks

In August 2016,
Cuneiform Records Congratulates the
National Park Service on its Centennial
and
Announces the Upcoming Release of
America's National Parks,
a Double-Disc Set of Music by
Composer/Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith
with his Golden Quintet

***

August 25th, 2016
is the
100th Anniversary of the
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE


"The national parks represent an idea born in this country, as uniquely American as the Declaration of Independence and just as radical: that the most magnificent and sacred places in our nation should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich,
but for everyone."
- Ken Burns & Dayton Duncan


An Act to Establish a National Park Service, 8/25/1916.
(General Records of the U.S. Government, National Archives)


On August 25th, 1916, the Organic Act was signed into power by President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President of the United States, creating the National Park Service “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein, and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner … as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” The idea of creating National Parks - setting aside land to be owned by the American people in perpetuity, for the public's pleasure and national pride - was an American innovation. The first example of this dates back to 1872, when the US federal government under President Ulysses S. Grant designated Yellowstone as a "public park or pleasuring-ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the people," creating the first and oldest National Park in the world. The concept of national parks spread worldwide as the US designated additional parks and other nations began to establish their own. The 1916 Organic Act ensured the future of America's National Parks by creating a special federal bureau under the US Department of the Interior to be their stewards, and to manage and preserve them.

Numerous celebrations honoring the National Parks Centennial (National Park Service Centennial) are being held in August 2016, including:

- The National Archives in Washington DC is displaying the Organic Act of 1916 in a special exhibit throughout August.

- Free admission to all National Parks (some usually charge admission) on the weekend of Aug. 25-28

- Music celebrations in various parks

For more info on the National Parks Centennial:
National Park Service
National Park Foundation

Info on the Organic Act & National Parks from:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Park_Service_Organic_Act
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_park

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Park_Service


“The national parks are more than landmarks, monuments, and territories,
more than mountains, forests, lakes, and geologic wonders.
They represent a piece of the American soul.”
- Edwin Bernbaum

Cuneiform Records' release of Wadada Leo Smith's America's National Parks auspiciously coincides with the 2016 National Parks Centennial celebrations.
***

October 14th, 2016 marks the release of
WADADA LEO SMITH's
America's National Parks




"My focus is on the... idea of setting aside reserves for common property of the American citizens: those who have passed on before, those who are here in the present, and those who will come in the future. The...collective notion about common property, inheritance, longevity, transformation, and sustaining beauty down the line...”
-
Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith is one of America's leading composers and trumpeters and one of the most respected creative musicians in the world. His recordings and performances have been acclaimed by the international music press, and the Ankhrasmation scores he creates for some music are now in the art world's spotlight, currently exhibited at the Hammer Museums' Made in L.A. 2016 exhibit and lauded with a 2016 Mohn Award. Smith's prior release on Cuneiform was Ten Freedom Summers, a four-disc set celebrating the American Civil Rights Movement, for which he was named one of the 3 finalists for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Music. America's National Parks follows in the musical, conceptual/political and spiritual footsteps of Ten Freedom Summers, continuing Smith's dedication to celebrating America's best ideas, most monumental achievements, and most noble ideals.



Wadada Leo Smith
America's National Parks
(Cuneiform Records - Rune 430/431)
Release Date: October 14, 2016

"The notion of creating these national parks has been celebrated as the
earliest idea of collecting common ground for the ordinary base of a society. ...it’s a collective notion about common property, inheritance, longevity, transformation, and sustaining beauty down the line, where any American in history coming forward
can see and have ownership of this common property.”
-
Wadada Leo Smith
TRACK LISTING:
CD 1
1. New Orleans: The National Culture Park USA 1718 (20:57)
2. Eileen Jackson Southern,1920-2002: A Literary National Park (9:38)
3. Yellowstone: The First National Park and the Spirit of America – The Mountains, Super-Volcano Caldera and Its Ecosystem 1872 (12:14)

CD 2
4. The Mississippi River: Dark and Deep Dreams Flow the River – a National Memorial Park c. 5000 BC (31:07)
5. Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Parks: The Giant Forest, Great Canyon, Cliffs, Peaks, Waterfalls and Cave Systems 1890 (6:46)
6. Yosemite: The Glaciers, the Falls, the Wells and the Valley of Goodwill 1890 (15:23)

-

Golden Quintet
Wadada Leo Smith
: trumpet, director of the ensemble
Anthony Davis: piano
Ashley Walters: cello
John Lindberg: bass
Pheeroan akLaff: drums
Jesse Gilbert: video artist

Music composed by Wadada Leo Smith.
Published by Kiom Music, ASCAP.

Recorded on May 5, 2016 and mixed by Nick Lloyd
at Firehouse 12 Recording Studio, New Haven, CT.

Mastered by Gene Paul at G&J Audio, Union City, NJ.

Art and Yosemite National Park photography by Jesse Gilbert.
Wadada photo: R.I. Sutherland-Cohen
Anthony photo: Erik Jepsen
Ashley photo: Tim Coburn
John photo: Sotiris Kontos
Pheeroan photo: Jimmy and Deena Katz
Jesse photo: Mona Tian

Package design by Bill Ellsworth.

© 2016 Wadada Leo Smith
(p) 2016 Cuneiform Records



press release:

Legendary Composer and Trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith Creates a New Masterwork Inspired by America’s Most Magnificent Natural Places.
The Epic America’s National Parks,
out October 14 on Cuneiform,
features Smith’s newly expanded Golden Quintet


“Smith uses his magisterial instrumental voice, his inspirational leadership and his command of classical, jazz and blues forms to remind us of what has gone down and what's still happening.”
-Bill Meyer, "DownBeat’s 80 Coolest Things in Jazz Today," DownBeat

“A trumpeter and composer of penetrating insight.”
-Nate Chinen, The New York Times

With America’s National Parks, visionary composer and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith offers his latest epic collection, a six-movement suite inspired by the scenic splendor, historic legacy, and political controversies of the country’s public landscapes. Writing for his newly expanded Golden Quintet, Smith crafts six extended works that explore, confront and question the preserved natural resources that are considered the most hallowed ground in the U.S. – and some that should be.

The two-CD America’s National Parks will be released on October 14 on Cuneiform Records, shortly before Smith’s 75th birthday in December. It arrives, coincidentally, in the midst of celebrations for the centennial of the National Park Service, which was created by an act of Congress on August 25, 1916. The spark for the project, however, came from two places: Smith’s own research into the National Park system, beginning with Yellowstone, the world’s first national park; and Ken Burns’ 12-hour documentary series The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

“The idea that Ken Burns explored in that documentary was that the grandeur of nature was like a religion or a cathedral,” Smith says. “I reject that image because the natural phenomenon in creation, just like man and stars and light and water, is all one thing, just a diffusion of energy. My focus is on the spiritual and psychological dimensions of the idea of setting aside reserves for common property of the American citizens.”

His 28-page score for America’s National Parks was penned for his Golden Quintet, a fresh reconfiguration of the quartet that’s been a keystone of his expression for the last 16 years. Pianist Anthony Davis, bassist John Lindberg and drummer Pheeroan akLaff are joined by cellist Ashley Walters, affording the composer and bandleader new melodic and coloristic possibilities. “The cello as a lead voice with the trumpet is magnificent,” Smith says, “but when you look at the possibilities for melodic formation with the trumpet, the cello, the piano and the bass, that’s paradise for a composer and for a performer. My intent was to prolong or enhance the vitality of the ensemble to live longer.”

That’s an enticing prospect given the vigor and daring on bold display throughout America’s National Parks. Where many composers would be seduced into romantic excess by the sweeping vistas and majestic panoramas of Yellowstone’s grand waterfalls or Kings Canyon’s towering redwoods, Smith takes a far more investigative and expansive view, with inventive and complex scores that prompt stunning improvisations from his ensemble. In fact, he has yet to visit many of the parks paid homage in the pieces, opting instead for thorough historical research.

“You don't really need to visit a park to write about a park,” Smith insists. “Debussy wrote ‘La Mer,’ which is about the sea, and he wasn’t a seafaring person. I would defend his right to do that, and I would contend that ‘La Mer’ is a masterpiece that clearly reflects his psychological connection with the idea of the sea.”

The idea of the parks, rather than their physical and geographical beauty, is central to Smith’s conception for this music. In its marrying of natural landmarks and political challenges it can be traced back to both of the composer’s most recent epic masterpieces, The Great Lakes and especially Ten Freedom Summers. “It became a political issue for me because the people that they set up to control and regulate the parks were politicians,” Smith says. “My feeling is that the parks should be independent of Congress and organized around an independent source who has no political need to be reelected. So it’s a spiritual/psychological investigation mixed with the political dynamics.”

Smith’s suite also takes inventive liberties with the definition of a “national park;” half of its inspirations aren’t, technically speaking, considered as such. The album opens with “New Orleans: The National Culture Park,” which argues that the entire Crescent City deserves to be recognized for its influential contributions to American history and culture. “New Orleans was the first cultural center in America and therefore it produced the first authentic American music,” Smith says.

The second piece, “Eileen Jackson Southern, 1920-2002: A Literary National Park,” takes an even broader view, suggesting that the African-American musicologist, author and founder of the journal The Black Perspective in Music, to which Smith has contributed, should be honored for her efforts to document a musical common ground shared by all Americans. Another piece represents the “Deep and Dark Dreams” of the Mississippi River, which Smith calls “a memorial site which was used as a dumping place for black bodies by hostile forces in Mississippi. I use the word ‘dark’ to show that these things are buried or hidden, but the body itself doesn’t stay hidden; it floats up.”

The other three pieces are based on more conventionally recognized national parks: Yellowstone, which became the first place in the world so designated in 1872; Sequoia & Kings Canyon, whose trees Smith marvels at as some of the largest and oldest living things on the planet; and Yosemite, which contains striking glaciers and some of the deepest lakes in the world.

America’s National Parks arrives at a time of prolific imagination and universal renown for the composer. Earlier this year Smith, part of the first generation of musicians to come out of Chicago’s AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Music), was the recipient of a 2016 Doris Duke Artist Award and an honorary doctorate from CalArts. In March ECM released a cosmic rhythm with each stroke, a duo recording with pianist Vijay Iyer.

While these preserved landscapes offer the inspiration of powerful natural beauty, Smith’s always open-minded view of the world leads him to find that same inspiration wherever he is. “Every concrete house is from nature,” he says. “Every plastic airplane that flies 300 people across the ocean comes out of nature. Every air conditioner conditions a natural piece of air. I think that the human being is constantly enfolded in organic nature and constructed nature, so I’m constantly inspired, inside the house or outside the house.”
For more information on Wadada Leo Smith, please see:
www.wadadaleosmith.com

–––-

WADADA LEO SMITH RECORDINGS

Over the course of an impressive career spanning more than 4 decades, Wadada Leo Smith has released dozens of recordings on numerous labels from around the world, including ECM, John Zorn's Tzadik label and the TUM label in Finland. For more information on his extensive recorded oeuvre, please visit his website:
www.wadadaleosmith.com

WADADA LEO SMITH RECORDINGS
ON CUNEIFORM RECORDS:



Wadada Leo Smith
Ten Freedom Summers

[2012, Rune 350/351/352/353]
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC


Wadada Leo Smith's Organic
Heart's Reflections
[2011, Rune 330/331]
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC


Wadada Leo Smith
Spiritual Dimensions
[2009, Rune 290/291]
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC


Wadada Leo Smith's Golden Quartet
Tabligh
[2008, Rune 270]
AMAZON - ITUNES
BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC

Henry Kaiser & Wadada Leo Smith:
Yo Miles!

Sky Garden
[2004, Rune 191/192]
AMAZON - BANDCAMP
WAYSIDE MUSIC

Henry Kaiser & Wadada Leo Smith:
Yo Miles!

Upriver
[2005, Rune 201/202]
AMAZON - BANDCAMP

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Bent Knee Touring US NOW (Aug/Sep); Announce Dillinger Escape Plan Support Tour for Oct 2016



Bent Knee
Announces
Headlining U.S. Tour
(August/September 2016)
and
Dillinger Escape Plan Support Dates
(October 2016)

Globally-Acclaimed New Album
Say So Out Now,
Stream on Bandcamp


“The silo-smashing, Boston-based sextet taps into chamber pop, industrial rock, metal and prog-rock. Featuring the versatile, ever-appealing voice of Courtney Swain, Bent Knee’s unique mix is equal parts ingenuity and deliciousness."
- Wall Street Journal

"Say So confirms Bent Knee’s eloquence and ebullience, while also breaking new stylistic and temperamental ground.”
- The Boston Globe

"Mind boggling… the grandest and subtlest ideas are on the table."
- NPR

"Intricately woven, surrealist stylings. A potent sense of urgency tingles the air."
- Consequence of Sound

"A celebration of creative freedom and unrestricted musicianship. Easily one of the best albums of the year."
- Rebel Noise


[Bent Knee | photo credit: Chris Anderson]
This has been an incredible year for Bent Knee across the board, with its third album Say So (Cuneiform Records) receiving a unanimously rave reception from national and global media, including The Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, NPR, and Consequence of Sound.

Fresh off a triumphant European tour, the exhilarating live act is proud to announce it’s opening for legendary expansive metal band The Dillinger Escape Plan during the first half of its forthcoming U.S. fall tour. Prior to those dates, Bent Knee will headline across the East Coast, including a date in Toronto, Canada.

You can experience Bent Knee in action right this second while waiting for the forthcoming gigs. Five songs from its thrilling, upcoming full-length concert film Live at the Space are now available on YouTube.

Since its inception, Bent Knee has remained true to the incredible spectrum of its diverse musical personalities. Courtney Swain’s riveting vocals lead the way through often dark lyrical themes, while guitar virtuoso Ben Levin shifts seamlessly from melodic riffs to extreme dissonance, often at a moment’s notice. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth contribute deep grooves, full of unexpected accents and ornamentation that glue the boundary-pushing work together. Violinist Chris Baum soars atop and through the material, further expanding the group’s sonic palette, and producer/sound designer Vince Welch combines it all with understated brilliance.

// BENT KNEE - TOUR DATES: 2016 //



Bent Knee Headlining Dates: Aug/Sept 2016

8/26 Boston, MA – Great Scott

8/27 Philadelphia, PA – The El Bar

8/28 Baltimore, MD – Metro Gallery

8/29 Washington, DC – Black Cat DC

8/30 Kennett Square, PA – Kennett Flash Theatre

9/2 Dayton, OH – Ladyfest Dayton 2016

9/4 Chapel Hill, NC – ProgDay 2016

9/8 Tulsa, OK – The Vanguard Tulsa

9/9 Lawrence, KS – Jackpot Music Hall

9/10 Madison, WI – Mickey's Tavern

9/11 Chicago, IL – Emporium Arcade Bar

9/13 Toronto, ON – Monarch Tavern

9/14 Troy, NY – Troy Savings Bank Music Hall

9/17 Dayton, OH – Dayton Music, Art and Film Festival 2016

9/18 Worcester, MA – StART on the Street - Fall Edition



Dillinger Escape Plan Support Dates: October 2016

10/12 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage

10/13 Providence, RI – Fete Music Hall

10/14 Poughkeepsie, NY – The Chance Theater

10/15 New York, NY – Webster Hall

10/17 Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom

10/18 Cleveland, OH – House of Blues

10/19 Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue

10/20 Sauget, IL – Pop’s Nightclub

10/21 Lawrence, KS – Granada

10/22 Denver, CO – Marquis Theater

10/23 Salt Lake City, UT – Urban Lounge

---



Bent Knee
Say So


Cat. #: Rune 417, Format: CD [8-Panel Digipak] / Digital Download
Genre: Rock / Indie Rock / Art-Rock / Pop / Avant-Progressive

STREAM/SHARE: "Leak Water"
stream: @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

MUSIC VIDEOS

[WATCH: Bent Knee - Leak Water (Official Video)]


[WATCH: Bent Knee - Black Tar Water (Official Video)]


[WATCH: Bent Knee - Good Girl (Official Video)]

Say So Track Listing:

1. Black Tar Water (3:29)
2. Leak Water (4:41)
3. Counselor (5:51)
4. Eve (9:12)
5. Transition (0:49)
6. The Things You Love (6:12)
7. Nakami (5:20)
8. Commercial (3:44)
9. Hands Up (5:40)
10. Good Girl (6:39)

Bent Knee
Ben Levin: guitar and vocals
Chris Baum: violin
Courtney Swain: vocals and keyboards
Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth: drums
Jessica Kion: bass and vocals
Vince Welch: synths and sounds

Additional performances by:
Andy Bergman
: alto sax and clarinet
Ben Swartz: cello
Bryan Murphy: trumpet
Geni Skendo: flute and shakuhachi
Geoff Nielsen: trombone
Keith Dickerhofe: cello
Nathan Cohen: violin
Sam Morrison: baritone sax
Rebecca Hallowell: viola

Group vocals for “Counselor” and “The Things You Love”
Alessandra Cugno, Andrew Humphries, Anil Prasad, Celine Ferro, Clint Degan, Curtis Hartshorn, Geni Skendo, James Willetts, Jeri Schibelli, Jessie Vitale, Josh Golberg, Kelsey Devlin, Leilani Roser, Leo Fonseca, Mary Freedlund, Max Freedlund, Michael Vitale, Mike Razo, Miriam Olken, Peter Danilchuk, Rebecca Hallowell, Roland Rotsitaille, Ryan Jackson, Sam Swan, Stephen Humphries, Susan Putnins, Tim Doherty, Toni Schibelli, Tori Bedford

Written and performed by Bent Knee.
Produced and mixed by Vince Welch.
Engineered by Matt Beaudoin at Q Division Sound.
Additional engineering by Chris McLaughlin and Vince Welch.
Assistant engineering by Grace Reader, Griffin Bach, Jamie Rowe, Joel Edinberg, Matt Carlson, Michael Healy, and Steven Xia.

Mastered by Randy Roos at Squam Sound.

Recorded at Q Division Studios, The Record Company, and Converse Rubber Tracks, Boston.

Album art by Greg Bowen.



"Like the best birthday party you’ve had in years."
- Goldmine Magazine


"Bent Knee's musicianship is superb, with vocals to die for, an interesting new turn at every corner, and never a dull moment. Highly recommended."
- Bill Bruford

"Expansive, genre-exploding avant rock."
- Bandcamp ["New and Notable"]

"...the new fantastic Bent Knee record... Brilliant! This band will soon be everywhere!"
- Nik Bärtsch

Bent Knee is a band without frontiers. The Boston-based group seamlessly connects the worlds of rock, pop and the avant-garde into its own self-defining statement. On its Cuneiform debut release Say So, the band focuses on the sound of surprise. It’s rock for the thinking person. The group’s lyrics are dark and infused with themes focusing on the emergence of personal demons, unwanted situations and the difficulty of conquering them. Its mercurial sound matches its subject matter. It’s a thrilling aural roller-coaster ride with arrangements designed to make listeners throw their arms up in wild abandon as they engage with them.

Say So resoundingly demonstrates the increasing refinement and confidence of a group that doesn’t quite fit any conventional pigeonhole, with emphatic crunch, a knack for complexity, mixed with lively wit,” said Steve Smith of The Boston Globe. “Live, the band projects visceral glee, exactingly harmonized and wholly infectious.”

Founded in 2009, Bent Knee is a true collective. The band operates as a democratic entity with sky-high standards and a determination to push boundaries. Frontwoman and keyboardist Courtney Swain’s acrobatic, multi-octave vocals are nothing less than extraordinary. Guitarist Ben Levin morphs between the hauntingly melodic and extreme, dissonant sonics—sometimes within a single verse or passage. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth deliver deep and thunderous grooves, full of engaging, intriguing ornamentation. Violinist Chris Baum’s driving melodic overlays and atmospheres further take the band’s sound into wild territory. And all of it is brilliantly processed and produced by sound designer Vince Welch.

Bent Knee has remained on a skyward trajectory since forming. Its last two albums, 2014’s Shiny Eyed Babies and its self-titled 2011 release, have been celebrated as significant art-rock achievements by important music publications, including Consequence of Sound, The Needle Drop, Innerviews, and Eclipsed. The group has performed more than 300 shows across the U.S., Canada and Japan to date and will embark on its first European tour this year. They’ve also headlined at major festivals and venues including The Lincoln Center, ROSfest, Tulsa Center of the Universe, and Campbell Bay Music Fest.

“What Bent Knee does is fuse the most extreme ends of pop and avant-garde music together,” says Welch. “We feel those things aren’t nearly as mutually exclusive as most people think.”

“When I listen back to Say So, I think it’s the most accessible thing Bent Knee has ever done,” continues Wallace-Ailsworth. “But other times, I think it’s the strangest thing Bent Knee has ever done. For instance, ‘Leak Water’ is a relatively linear rock tune by our standards, whereas ‘Eve’ is a sprawling, epic with radical twists and turns. I think the album reflects the full spectrum of our diverse musical personalities.”

Those extremes are also mirrored in the album’s lyrical themes.

“On Say So, we’re looking at the bigger picture and figuring out where we as individuals stand and how we carve out meaning in this giant universe,” explains Baum. “The album art captures that idea too. It’s why it features a figure lost in the woods, surrounded by darkness but looking out into the light.”

Even with those signifiers and aims, the band prefers its lyrics to be wide open to interpretation. It feels both listeners and the group itself benefit from that perspective.

“I’ve had listeners come up to me and say ‘Good Girl’ from Say So is a strong statement against women being patronized or oppressed and that hit me really hard,” says Swain. “It’s possible to consider those lyrics in that context, and that perspective helped me connect even more closely with the song. How people perceive our songs helps enrich and refresh the pieces for us as we perform them over time.”


[Bent Knee | photo credit: Chris Anderson]

One of the elements that significantly distinguishes Bent Knee is its adventurous arrangements. Each track is a true journey. In fact, pieces like “Eve” and “Counselor” are so diverse they reflect an almost “songs-within-a-song” approach.

“We try not to repeat ourselves within our structures,” says Kion. “If we find we’re creating a pattern such as ramping into a loud section and landing in a soft section right after it twice in a row, we’ll break it as soon as we notice it. We don't want to bore ourselves. We also want to surprise and intrigue listeners. We’re always trying to do new things with arrangements.”

“Another thing that stands out for us on Say So is that there are more dynamics within the sections of each piece,” adds Levin. “On previous albums, there were huge dynamic differences between sections. You’d hear songs that alternate between quiet passages, explosions, grooves, and long builds. On Say So, within a section, you’ll hear a lot more variety of loud and quiet, fullness and emptiness, ambience and dryness, and timbre changes. If you drew the dynamic arc of some of these pieces, it would look kind of like a Rorschach inkblot.”

Adding to Say So’s intrigue is the group’s decision to record some of the album in an unconventional space.

“A friend of ours pointed us to an empty, unlocked, million-square foot industrial complex in Boston,” says Baum. “We went in there to record so we could explore its unique sonic atmosphere. It felt like zombies were going to jump out anytime. It was a foreboding locale and gave the session a distinctly dark vibe. We captured some wild, reverb-drenched background vocals there.”

Prior to hitting the studio, the band road-tested Say So’s material at more than 50 gigs.

“It was extremely valuable to see how the pieces went over with audiences,” says Swain. “Playing live also gives all six of us a comprehensive understanding of where we sit in the registers of the songs, enabling us to adjust where the instruments fit in the mix. It’s also important for us to see how the lyrical motifs go over. The songs would be presented 70-80 percent finished to the audiences, leaving us with room to evolve the approach before finalizing them.”

Say So is a world-class album on every level. The band collectively obsessed over every detail in its determination to set a new standard for itself and the universe of ambitious songcraft.

“We now live in a time in which pretty much anyone in the Western world has access to the vast majority of recordings online,” says Welch. “So, the competition for musicians isn’t just the band down the street anymore. The competition is bands as big as Radiohead. To have a shot at success you have to aim to be that good. But even that’s not enough. You have to be patient and work at building up your audience like we’ve done for the last seven years. One of our mentors, the producer Susan Rogers, said to us ‘Slow growth is real growth.’ It’s advice we’ve taken to heart across this journey.”

That journey has now brought them into Cuneiform’s orbit—a transition the band is thrilled with on every level.

“It means a lot for us to be on Cuneiform because of the incredibly high standards of the other artists on the roster,” says Levin. “It’s a world where music is treated as art. Working with Cuneiform means we can make the music we love and connect with a lot of like-minded listeners. It’s fantastic to be in such great company, both in terms of the musicians they work with, as well as the uncompromising vision the label adheres to.”


PROMOTIONAL TRACK //
If you'd like to share music from this release, please feel free to use the following track:
"Leak Water": @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

PURCHASE LINKS
//
ITUNES - AMAZON - BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC


ARTIST WEB SITES //
www.bentkneemusic.com - Bent Knee on Facebook - Bent Knee on Twitter
Bent Knee on CuneiformRecords.com

Monday, July 25, 2016

Boston-Based Art-Rockers, Bent Knee, Embark on Summer/Fall 2016 Tour of North America and Europe

Boston-Based Art-Rockers
- Bent Knee -
Embark on Summer/Fall 2016 Tour of
North America and Europe Celebrating
their Cuneiform debut,
Say So,
a World-Class Album
Brimming with Catchy, Captivating Songs
That Channel the Best from Rock’s Spectrum,
from Pop to the Avant Garde




[Bent Knee | photo credit: Chris Anderson]

// BENT KNEE - TOUR DATES: 2016 //



July 28
4PM
Germany Burg Herzberg Festival
Breitenbach am Herzberg
July 29
8PM
Germany Fabrik Unique
Austrage 27
Augsburg, Germany 86153 
July 30
9:30PM
Italy La Casa di Alex Etxea
Moncalieri 5
Milan, Italy 20162
August 2
7:30PM
Switzerland Exil
Hardstrasse 245
Zürich, Switzerland 8005
August 4
5PM
Czech Republic Eurocentrum
Jiraskova 9
Jablonec Nad Nisou 46601 
August 17
9PM
USA BAR
254 Crown Street
New Haven, CT 06511
August 24
7PM
USA C'mon Everybody
325 Franklin Ave
Brooklyn, NY 11238
August 26
10PM
USA Great Scott
1222 Commonwealth Ave Boston, MA 02134 
August 28
8PM
USA The Metro Gallery
1700 North Charles St Baltimore, MD 
August 29
8 PM
USA The Black Cat
1811 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Also appearing: Cartoon Weapons and Escape Artist
September 2
USA Ladyfest
700 East 4th Street
Dayton, OH 45402
September 3 & 4
USA Progday
Storybook Farm
Chapel Hill, NC
September 11
8PM
USA Emporium
1366 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60622 
September 17
1:30PM
USA Dayton Music, Arts, and Film Festival
341 S Jefferson St
Dayton, OH 45402
September 18
USA StART on the Street
Park Ave
Worcester, MA 

---



Bent Knee
Say So


Cat. #: Rune 417, Format: CD [8-Panel Digipak] / Digital Download
Genre: Rock / Indie Rock / Art-Rock / Pop / Avant-Progressive
Release Date: May 20, 2016

"A welcoming call to music fans who savor the very special. An accusation that there are too many ideas in a work of art is dispelled when they are mostly good ones, as is the case with Bent Knee and 'Say So.'”
-
The Wall Street Journal

"Expansive, genre-exploding avant rock."
- Bandcamp ["New and Notable"]

"...a celebration of creative freedom and unrestricted musicianship... easily one of the best albums of the year."
- Rebel Noise

"Mind boggling... the grandest and subtlest ideas are on the table."
- NPR's The ARTery

"...a record that confirms its eloquence and ebullience, while also breaking new stylistic and temperamental ground."
- The Boston Globe

"Like the best birthday party you’ve had in years."
- Goldmine Magazine


STREAM/SHARE: "Leak Water"
stream: @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

MUSIC VIDEOS

[WATCH: Bent Knee - Leak Water (Official Video)]


[WATCH: Bent Knee - Black Tar Water (Official Video)]


[WATCH: Bent Knee - Good Girl (Official Video)]

Say So Track Listing:

1. Black Tar Water (3:29)
2. Leak Water (4:41)
3. Counselor (5:51)
4. Eve (9:12)
5. Transition (0:49)
6. The Things You Love (6:12)
7. Nakami (5:20)
8. Commercial (3:44)
9. Hands Up (5:40)
10. Good Girl (6:39)

for radio:
Start with: #1, 2, 3, 9
FCC:
CLEAN

Bent Knee
Ben Levin: guitar and vocals
Chris Baum: violin
Courtney Swain: vocals and keyboards
Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth: drums
Jessica Kion: bass and vocals
Vince Welch: synths and sounds

Additional performances by:
Andy Bergman
: alto sax and clarinet
Ben Swartz: cello
Bryan Murphy: trumpet
Geni Skendo: flute and shakuhachi
Geoff Nielsen: trombone
Keith Dickerhofe: cello
Nathan Cohen: violin
Sam Morrison: baritone sax
Rebecca Hallowell: viola

Group vocals for “Counselor” and “The Things You Love”
Alessandra Cugno, Andrew Humphries, Anil Prasad, Celine Ferro, Clint Degan, Curtis Hartshorn, Geni Skendo, James Willetts, Jeri Schibelli, Jessie Vitale, Josh Golberg, Kelsey Devlin, Leilani Roser, Leo Fonseca, Mary Freedlund, Max Freedlund, Michael Vitale, Mike Razo, Miriam Olken, Peter Danilchuk, Rebecca Hallowell, Roland Rotsitaille, Ryan Jackson, Sam Swan, Stephen Humphries, Susan Putnins, Tim Doherty, Toni Schibelli, Tori Bedford

Written and performed by Bent Knee.
Produced and mixed by Vince Welch.
Engineered by Matt Beaudoin at Q Division Sound.
Additional engineering by Chris McLaughlin and Vince Welch.
Assistant engineering by Grace Reader, Griffin Bach, Jamie Rowe, Joel Edinberg, Matt Carlson, Michael Healy, and Steven Xia.

Mastered by Randy Roos at Squam Sound.

Recorded at Q Division Studios, The Record Company, and Converse Rubber Tracks, Boston.

Album art by Greg Bowen.


"Bent Knee's musicianship is superb, with vocals to die for, an interesting new turn at every corner, and never a dull moment. Highly recommended."
- Bill Bruford

"Say So resoundingly demonstrates the increasing refinement and confidence of a group that doesn't quite fit any conventional pigeonhole, with emphatic crunch, a knack for complexity, mixed with lively wit."
- The Boston Globe

"...the new fantastic Bent Knee record... Brilliant! This band will soon be everywhere!"
- Nik Bärtsch

“Intricately woven, surrealist stylings... a potent sense of urgency tingles the air.”
- Consequence of Sound

Bent Knee is a band without frontiers. The Boston-based group seamlessly connects the worlds of rock, pop and the avant-garde into its own self-defining statement. On its Cuneiform debut release Say So, the band focuses on the sound of surprise. It’s rock for the thinking person. The group’s lyrics are dark and infused with themes focusing on the emergence of personal demons, unwanted situations and the difficulty of conquering them. Its mercurial sound matches its subject matter. It’s a thrilling aural roller-coaster ride with arrangements designed to make listeners throw their arms up in wild abandon as they engage with them.

Say So resoundingly demonstrates the increasing refinement and confidence of a group that doesn’t quite fit any conventional pigeonhole, with emphatic crunch, a knack for complexity, mixed with lively wit,” said Steve Smith of The Boston Globe. “Live, the band projects visceral glee, exactingly harmonized and wholly infectious.”

Founded in 2009, Bent Knee is a true collective. The band operates as a democratic entity with sky-high standards and a determination to push boundaries. Frontwoman and keyboardist Courtney Swain’s acrobatic, multi-octave vocals are nothing less than extraordinary. Guitarist Ben Levin morphs between the hauntingly melodic and extreme, dissonant sonics—sometimes within a single verse or passage. Bassist Jessica Kion and drummer Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth deliver deep and thunderous grooves, full of engaging, intriguing ornamentation. Violinist Chris Baum’s driving melodic overlays and atmospheres further take the band’s sound into wild territory. And all of it is brilliantly processed and produced by sound designer Vince Welch.

Bent Knee has remained on a skyward trajectory since forming. Its last two albums, 2014’s Shiny Eyed Babies and its self-titled 2011 release, have been celebrated as significant art-rock achievements by important music publications, including Consequence of Sound, The Needle Drop, Innerviews, and Eclipsed. The group has performed more than 300 shows across the U.S., Canada and Japan to date and will embark on its first European tour this year. They’ve also headlined at major festivals and venues including The Lincoln Center, ROSfest, Tulsa Center of the Universe, and Campbell Bay Music Fest.

“What Bent Knee does is fuse the most extreme ends of pop and avant-garde music together,” says Welch. “We feel those things aren’t nearly as mutually exclusive as most people think.”

“When I listen back to Say So, I think it’s the most accessible thing Bent Knee has ever done,” continues Wallace-Ailsworth. “But other times, I think it’s the strangest thing Bent Knee has ever done. For instance, ‘Leak Water’ is a relatively linear rock tune by our standards, whereas ‘Eve’ is a sprawling, epic with radical twists and turns. I think the album reflects the full spectrum of our diverse musical personalities.”

Those extremes are also mirrored in the album’s lyrical themes.

“On Say So, we’re looking at the bigger picture and figuring out where we as individuals stand and how we carve out meaning in this giant universe,” explains Baum. “The album art captures that idea too. It’s why it features a figure lost in the woods, surrounded by darkness but looking out into the light.”

Even with those signifiers and aims, the band prefers its lyrics to be wide open to interpretation. It feels both listeners and the group itself benefit from that perspective.

“I’ve had listeners come up to me and say ‘Good Girl’ from Say So is a strong statement against women being patronized or oppressed and that hit me really hard,” says Swain. “It’s possible to consider those lyrics in that context, and that perspective helped me connect even more closely with the song. How people perceive our songs helps enrich and refresh the pieces for us as we perform them over time.”


[Bent Knee | photo credit: Chris Anderson]

One of the elements that significantly distinguishes Bent Knee is its adventurous arrangements. Each track is a true journey. In fact, pieces like “Eve” and “Counselor” are so diverse they reflect an almost “songs-within-a-song” approach.

“We try not to repeat ourselves within our structures,” says Kion. “If we find we’re creating a pattern such as ramping into a loud section and landing in a soft section right after it twice in a row, we’ll break it as soon as we notice it. We don't want to bore ourselves. We also want to surprise and intrigue listeners. We’re always trying to do new things with arrangements.”

“Another thing that stands out for us on Say So is that there are more dynamics within the sections of each piece,” adds Levin. “On previous albums, there were huge dynamic differences between sections. You’d hear songs that alternate between quiet passages, explosions, grooves, and long builds. On Say So, within a section, you’ll hear a lot more variety of loud and quiet, fullness and emptiness, ambience and dryness, and timbre changes. If you drew the dynamic arc of some of these pieces, it would look kind of like a Rorschach inkblot.”

Adding to Say So’s intrigue is the group’s decision to record some of the album in an unconventional space.

“A friend of ours pointed us to an empty, unlocked, million-square foot industrial complex in Boston,” says Baum. “We went in there to record so we could explore its unique sonic atmosphere. It felt like zombies were going to jump out anytime. It was a foreboding locale and gave the session a distinctly dark vibe. We captured some wild, reverb-drenched background vocals there.”

Prior to hitting the studio, the band road-tested Say So’s material at more than 50 gigs.

“It was extremely valuable to see how the pieces went over with audiences,” says Swain. “Playing live also gives all six of us a comprehensive understanding of where we sit in the registers of the songs, enabling us to adjust where the instruments fit in the mix. It’s also important for us to see how the lyrical motifs go over. The songs would be presented 70-80 percent finished to the audiences, leaving us with room to evolve the approach before finalizing them.”

Say So is a world-class album on every level. The band collectively obsessed over every detail in its determination to set a new standard for itself and the universe of ambitious songcraft.

“We now live in a time in which pretty much anyone in the Western world has access to the vast majority of recordings online,” says Welch. “So, the competition for musicians isn’t just the band down the street anymore. The competition is bands as big as Radiohead. To have a shot at success you have to aim to be that good. But even that’s not enough. You have to be patient and work at building up your audience like we’ve done for the last seven years. One of our mentors, the producer Susan Rogers, said to us ‘Slow growth is real growth.’ It’s advice we’ve taken to heart across this journey.”

That journey has now brought them into Cuneiform’s orbit—a transition the band is thrilled with on every level.

“It means a lot for us to be on Cuneiform because of the incredibly high standards of the other artists on the roster,” says Levin. “It’s a world where music is treated as art. Working with Cuneiform means we can make the music we love and connect with a lot of like-minded listeners. It’s fantastic to be in such great company, both in terms of the musicians they work with, as well as the uncompromising vision the label adheres to.”

PRESS RELEASE // DOWNLOAD (PDF)

PROMOTIONAL TRACK //
If you'd like to share music from this release, please feel free to use the following track:
"Leak Water": @SoundCloud / @Bandcamp / @YouTube

PURCHASE LINKS
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ITUNES - AMAZON - BANDCAMP - WAYSIDE MUSIC

ARTIST WEB SITES //
www.bentkneemusic.com - Bent Knee on Facebook - Bent Knee on Twitter
Bent Knee on CuneiformRecords.com